The New York Mets made a gigantic splash on Tuesday, as they have reportedly agreed to a deal to make David Stearns the first president of baseball operations in the 62-year history of the franchise.
Stearns, who served in the same role with the Milwaukee Brewers for four years, was a top target for the new ownership in Flushing as they felt they needed another up-and-coming voice to steer the baseball operations department towards the future.
Stearns will take over when the season ends and Mets fans should be stoked about this historic deal.
With David Stearns, the New York Mets are getting one of the best talent evaluators and executives in the industry, something the Mets have been missing all along.
At only 38 years old, Stearns has already built an impressive and consistent record of success building teams from the ground up, and he started right out of college, working briefly with the Mets and then under then-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to carve out a collective bargaining agreement before spending a year in Cleveland in their analytics department in 2012.
Then, Stearns widely contributed to the rebuilds of two franchises whose teams were previously in shambles. Stearns was the assistant general manager for the Houston Astros during their rebuild from 2013 to 2015. He then became the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers after the 2015 season, in which he oversaw a team that went to the postseason four years in a row from 2018 to 2021. Prior to that run, the Brewers made the playoffs just twice in the previous 35 seasons.
The Brewers wanted a general manager that focused on data-driven analytics in 2015, and that’s what Stearns had to bring because his budget was limited as it was a smaller market. That necessary approach allowed the team to develop players who have flourished in the big leagues who were not highly regarded prospects in the minors.
The results have been outstanding with less resources. In 2018, after bringing in Christian Yelich (trade) and Lorenzo Cain (free agency), the Brewers made it all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS. This year, with the roster assembled mostly by Stearns, they are on the verge of a fifth playoff appearance in six years, and in the other year (last year), they won 86 games and missed the playoffs by one game.
Stearns also brings in a sense of humility. He believed the reason Milwaukee was left out of the playoffs in 2022 was because they traded superstar closer Josh Hader and it led to a disorganized bullpen that lost them some games down the stretch. He comes into New York with a healthy fear about that, especially since the Mets’ closer for next year and beyond is Edwin Diaz. The New York media would crucify that man if he ever traded Diaz.
Stearns also grew up in New York as a Mets fan, and it is rare in the sports industry that a team has an owner and a top executive that both grew up as fans of the team they run. Mets fans have already seen the lengths Steve Cohen has pursued to honor their team history and cater the experience for the fans, so it is thought to be that Stearns will bring the same passion of wanting to win a championship and wanting to do that specifically with the Mets.
This is considered by some to be the most consequential executive move since the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman nine years ago as their president of baseball operations, so this is a massive deal that the Mets landed an incredibly bright young guy, that brings Steve Cohen’s vision of the Mets one step closer to being the “East Coast Dodgers.”
The Dodgers’ hire of Friedman in October 2014 came three seasons after the team was sold from the corrupt Frank McCourt to Guggenheim Baseball Management in early 2012.
Similarly, the Mets’ hire of Stearns, slated to occur in October 2023, comes three seasons after Steve Cohen officially took over the Mets from the Wilpons in late 2020.